AN EXQUISITE pocket watch, more than 200-years-old, that was supplied by an Ashbourne silversmiths, has been valued at more than £2,000.
The ornate silver watch, which was made by a firm in Hanley in 1810 and sold by W Davenport of Dig Street, belongs to John Hart, from Rowsley, who is using his grandfather’s timepiece as a basis for exploring his family’s fascinating history.
He was handed the watch by his grandmother after his grandfather, a railway porter in Great Longstone, died of a heart attack while cycling to work in 1956 and it is one of his most cherished possessions.
His grandfather, Sam Wright, was one of 10 boys in a family of 12, born in Fenny Bentley to a quarry worker and the watch, which bears a picture of St Oswald’s Church inside, is one of a few remaining artefacts from a family that left a lasting legacy in the area.
Eight of the 10 brothers served with the Sherwood Foresters Regiment in the First World War and Sargeant Harry Wright, who is the area’s most decorated man, received many medals during his time in conflict, including the Victoria Cross.
All the brothers’ names can be seen on the roll of honour in Fenny Bentley Church and another of the 10, Wallace Wright, owned the Bentley Brook Inn in the village.
Mr Hart, 78, recently took his grandfather’s watch to Ashbourne Jeweller CW Sellors to find out more and watch technician Charlie Crump suggest it could be worth at least £2,000.
Mr Crump told the News Telegraph: “It’s one of those watches that comes up once in a blue moon, so I found it very exciting.
“It’s an absolutely cracking watch, in excellent condition, and the craftsmanship in it is second-to-none. I was absolutely flabbergasted that it’s still around.
“The movement works off a spring and chain and it runs for eight days so it’s fascinating to see how that works. I’ve seen one before but that was a long time ago, so it’s very rare.
“An eight-day pocket watch is rare in itself but this one is so refined that it’s actually very humbling to see it.” According to Ashbourne historian Trilby Shaw, W Davenport was based in Dig Street, below what is now an Indian restaurant, and Mr Crump believes the watch could have been either supplied new or second-hand by the shop.